If you or a loved one were recently diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), then you may be feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the amount of information available. These books can help make sense of symptoms and offer solutions to common OCD-related problems.
Here are the top ten books on obsessive compulsive disorder:
1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with OCD, by Cheryl Carmin
Dr. Carmin’s thoughtful, compassionate writing helps demystify a lot of the fears and concerns of OCD. A clinical psychologist and OCD expert, Dr.Carmin helps readers understand their diagnosis and determine if they should seek treatment. This book is a good starting point for anyone affected by OCD.
2. Getting Over OCD, Second Edition: A 10-Step Workbook for Taking Back Your Life, by Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Ph.D.
This workbook is for those looking for a change; relief from symptoms like obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. With exercises ground in cognitive-behavioral therapy and backed by the latest research, this workbook offers customized plans so you can better understand how OCD affects your body and what change can look like.
Many of the tools in this book can be downloaded multiple times, allowing readers to continue creating new habits and better practices.
3. The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts, by Lee Baer, Ph.D.
This book isn’t about overcoming OCD as much as it is about understanding it. Dr. Baer is a leading OCD expert who dives deep into the anxiety disorder that plagues millions of Americans.
By looking at the root of these ‘bad thoughts’ that are often the hallmark of the disorder, Dr. Baer offers an informative and comprehensive look at OCD while offering concrete solutions for friends, family, and those with the disorder.
4. Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts: A CBT-Based Guide to Getting Over Frightening, Obsessive, or Disturbing Thoughts, by Sally M. Winston, Ph.D., and Martin N. Seif, Ph.D.
Intrusive, obsessive thoughts aren’t just distressing; they can make someone feel like something is wrong with them for thinking such things.
If you struggle with knowing that your intrusive thoughts are just that – thoughts – then this guidebook is for you. Anxiety experts Sally M. Winston and Martin N. Seif offer CBT-grounded techniques to help you separate yourself from your thoughts and understand that they don’t reflect on you as a person.
5. Everyday Mindfulness for OCD: Tips, Tricks, and Skills for Living Joyfully, by Shala Nicely, LPC
Mindfulness, a calming technique used for a variety of mental health concerns, can also be a great companion to OCD treatment and therapy. If you’re looking for an OCD-specific plan, however, you’ll appreciate this one.
Everyday Mindfulness offers readers a chance to find self-compassion, live mindfully in the moment, and recognize their thoughts in a safe, compassionate way.
6. The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, by Jon Hershfield MFT and Tom Corboy, MFT
Perfect for those who prefer a guided approach to mindfulness, this workbook is tailored specifically for those with OCD. Exercises offer tools to develop present-minded awareness, breaking intrusive thought cycles, and more. It’s also rooted in CBT and updated with new information on OCD, making it a valuable resource for anyone struggling with the disorder.
7. Rewire Your OCD Brain: Powerful Neuroscience-Based Skills to Break Free from Obsessive Thoughts and Fears, by Catherine M. Pittman Ph.D., and William H. Youngs Ph.D.
Struggling to break free of the intrusive thought cycle? You’re not alone. A psychologist and a neuropsychologist team up to deliver effective ways to break the cycle and understand how the OCD brain works. The brain is a powerful tool, they argue, and the more you actively reframe and recontextualize your thoughts, the more resilient your brain becomes.
8. Needing to Know for Sure: A CBT-Based Guide to Overcoming Compulsive Checking and Reassurance Seeking, by Martin N. Seif, Ph.D., & Sally M. Winston, Psy.D.
While not specifically designed for OCD, if you struggle with constantly checking things or repeatedly seeking confirmation from friends, relatives, and loved ones – symptoms similar to OCD – then this CBT-based guide may be a strong companion to ongoing OCD treatment or as a stand-alone read.
It can get easy to get into a reassurance trap; the more you do it, the more likely you’ll rely on reassurance in stressful situations. Authors Martin N. Seif and Sally M. Winston argue that breaking free of these habits can help you gain the confidence you need to move forward in your life.
9. Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCD: A Scientifically Proven Program for Parents, by Eli R. Lebowitz, Ph.D.
Anxious children can pose difficult questions for parents; is it better to accommodate a child’s anxiety, possibly reinforcing their anxious behavior, or do they force their child to “tough it out,” hoping the anxiety will just go away with time?
For children with OCD and anxiety, neither is ideal. Dr. Lebowitz offers a more robust option: a concrete understanding of these disorders in children and how to reasonably approach both in ways that help children grow into healthy, confident adults. Learn how to talk with anxious children and avoid common pitfalls with guided, practical exercises and solutions.
10. Loving Someone with OCD: Help for You and Your Family, by Karen J. Landsman, Kathleen M. Rupertus, and Cherry Pedrick
This book works as an introduction to OCD – if a loved one or relative recently shared a diagnosis with you, start here. Learn the basics of OCD and treatment options, as well as how you can support someone with OCD in helpful and meaningful ways.
It also includes examples from real families dealing with OCD, as well as ways to accommodate their disorder, create action plans, and more.
When to See a Therapist for OCD
If you or someone you know suffers from OCD, then you know how debilitating it can be if left untreated. You don’t have to go at it alone – a trained therapist can help you address your symptoms and create new, healthy habits about your thought process. Find a therapist near you today.
For Further Reading
- Best Online OCD Resources
- Comparison of Talkspace and BetterHelp to help you choose the right online therapy provider for you
- Find additional support with the best CBT apps
- NAMI support groups